It's reasonable to assume that a big part of the reason you buy this magazine is to learn all you can about making horsepower. And we love it! So much so that we're constantly seeking out the best horsepower-producing products and people in the land to get you the hottest info there is. Sometimes, to learn more about that kind of stuff, us magazine guys turn to the experts in the industry and just sit and listen while they brainstorm ideas. Since we're also an integral part of that industry, sometimes we can simply pick up the phone and call them. But, most of those guys are too busy to be expected to take calls all day long, otherwise they'd never be making any power, so the Advanced Engine Technology Conference (AETC) was created to give anyone the opportunity to speak directly to them and hear of their secrets to making power.

Every year for the past 14 years, the AETC has drawn a large number of attendees and speakers from all over the world. As the name implies, this is a four-day gathering of gearheads that's all about engines and making power. Nothing else. This year there was also an added benefit to the show when our buds over at Engine Masters invited Jon Kasse and Charles Williams, the First and Second place finishers respectively, in both the 2003 and 2004 Engine Masters Challenges, to relate to the crowd about their engines, the contest, and what they learned. It would seem to an outsider that this conference is rapidly becoming the place to be if you want to succeed in the EMC, so for any of you who are thinking of challenging the best, you should also consider attending with the rest. But the main attraction at the AETC is always the featured speakers, who figuratively open their doors and minds to give you a peak inside the innermost sanctum of their horsepower-filled world.

Although there were many speakers at the AETC, we wanted to delve deeper into the discussions of a select few this year. So we present those to you now, in further detail.

Brian Reese-SLP Performance Parts
Making power from the LS1 Engine
Reese is the Director of Engineering at SLP Performance Parts. His expertise is late-model EFI performance, and custom or race EFI engines, specifically the Third-Gen LS-series from GM. He ruminated on the history of the LS1 and where its technology will be going in the near future. Hint: Reese feels that this is the new small-block for the next 50 years. He also revealed some unique power building characteristics of these engines and what it takes to build one. Tip: They're actually easier to work on than our favorite old small-blocks. Reese spoke of examples of tremendous gains from nothing more than simple bolt-ons like rocker arms and MAFs. Altogether, his was an enlightening peak inside the world of the LS1 and we can't wait to dig our hands deeper.

Roy Howell-Red Line Oil
How oil can produce higher power
Howell didn't have to convince us that there's power in oil. We already knew that. But he showed us examples of how oil affects the engine's ability to make power. Enlightening indeed. And he also went in-depth on the topic of viscosity and oil breakdown. Hint: temperature KILLS. Howell also explained the functions of a lubricant; i.e. it does more than just make the engine slick. Did you know that one of oil's primary functions is to remove heat from parts? Lastly Howell revealed the chemical make-up of different types of oils and how it all affects performance and power.

Bill Hancock-Arrow Racing Engines
Basics revisited
Bill's one of my favorite speakers because he tells it like it is and really makes me think. I've heard him speak before and I always walk away with more ideas and thoughts than I had going in. His business, Arrow Racing Engines, is things like NASCAR, and to hear him talk about things they've discovered is fascinating! This time, however, he decided to take a step back and tell us to look back at the things we've already tried to see if there's more power to be found in them now. Often times when developing an engine on the dyno, something gets tested that doesn't quite work like it's supposed to. So it gets put away. Later, after more parts are tested, there's always a chance that that other part might work better now, so Hancock told us to drag it back out of the closet and re-test it again. He also explained the different ways to look at an engine development program and address issue of concern for making power. Since that's always what we're all after, right?

Gale Banks-Gale Banks Engineering
Turbocharged diesel racing engines
It was bound to happen. Actually it's been going on for way longer than you know, but only now is it really in the spotlight. Diesel racing engines. From Top Fuel to Land Speed, these behemoths of iron and high pressure have been powering more and more vehicles to greater and greater speeds than ever before. And why not? Diesels are capable of incredible power. So much power that it makes our gas-burning engines look like tinker toys. And diesels are strong. So their chances of oiling down the racetrack after a 5-second run are less than likely. Banks outlined the steps involved in building a diesel-racing engine. From fuel system to turbocharging, he covered it all.

Larry Torres-T&D Rockers
History of rocker arms in high performance use
Torres gave us some insight into the history of rocker arms and where the technology is going from here. He also detailed the fundamentals of rocker arm technology and principals of the movements. All told, it's clear that while overhead cams are all the rage, rocker arms will stick around for a long, long time.

Bo Laws-BLP Carburetion
The fundamentals of carburetion
Laws got right to it. EFI is fun, but carbs are here to stay! He explained how a carburetor works and how it can be used to build more power from and already potent package. Laws enlightened us with details of his testing on venturi and booster developments. This is something we always use when driving down the road, but never think about. He also detailed the differences in wet versus dry airflow and how carbs are measured and compared to others. Then he delved deeply into the things that cause carburetor problems and how to fix them. Truly, a carb tuners delight.

Dave Fussner-Wiseco Pistons
Leading-edge technology in modern pistons
Fussner is a lifelong racer and has adapted to working behind the desk only marginally. His topic was all about pistons, since his company, Wiseco, is one of the giants of the pitons-making world. Fussner explained the advanced sciences of one of the hottest new trends in pistons technology that's actually been around for a very long time. Coatings. He also demonstrated how inertia takes effect when making pistons and how they're always looking to lighten the piston, while increasing its strength. Then he really turned up the juice when he explained two-ring piston technology, and the audience had many probing questions for him regarding that subject.

Tom Mathews-Metallurgical TechnologiesForensic investigations of metallurgical failures
Wow ! Like a CSI for metal and racing engines, this guy's team of scientists dives deeper into the stresses of metal than anyone we've ever seen. Ever wonder how someone like a NASCAR engine builder determines which parts to run and which ones to leave home? They test them to the point of failure and then ship the broken parts to these guys for analysis. And analyze they do! We're talking about magnifying parts 2,000 times, and then taking a look at how they worked or failed to help design a better part the next time around.

Various experts answers questions in their field.This was at the end of the conference, where the AETC administrators asked several of the attendees if they'd like to host an abbreviated Q&A session regarding topics in their field. Turns out there were no shortage of volunteers and an even greater number of anxious attendees dying to ask questions. The topics ranged from carburetors to camshafts to gaskets to coatings. And just about everything in between was touched on too. This was definitely something we hope they'll continue every year, as it was a way to network the entire conference.

While we've taken some time to highlight only a few of the speakers from the '04 AETC, there was a lot more to be heard and discussed. And, lucky for all of you, the whole show is taped and you can get an audio copy of it to spend countless hours going over and over them to see if any of it can make it make sense in your world.

Cost for the three-day conference
is around $500, which includes:
* Admission to the conference
* Breakfast, two breaks, and lunch for all three days
* Seminar booklet containing all of the presentations* Contact list of attendees

You can find out all you'll need to know about next year's16th Annual AETC conference by visiting:,
or call: (866) 893-2382

If you can't attend, but would still like to hear and see what all the speakers had to say, both video and audio tapes of the entire conference can be purchased from:
Technical Insights
4605 S. Yosemite, #19
Denver, CO 80237
(720) 529-8880 - Phone
(303) 221-7990 - Fax